Bush encroachment in Namibia is one of the largest and most widespread economic, social and technical challenges facing the country in recent history. While in contrast, the Namibian biomass sector is largely unrecognised and underdeveloped. In reality, bush encroachment and the budding biomass sector go hand-in-hand, yeilding a huge new oportunity. With an estimated 45 million hectares of bush encroached land, the Namibian economy could stand to benefit some USD 3 billion over a 20 year period if a large portion of that land were to be harvested. Harvesting leads to productivity increases with regards to improved stocking rates and also contributes to better ground water recharge among other benefits. Additionally, once opportunity costs are factored for, the real economic benefits realised from bush harvesting can be multiplied even further.
The solution doesn’t stop at harvesting, but it must continue on to create value from the resultant biomass. There is considerable market demand for woody biomass in existing and future market segments both locally and internationally. However, a robust biomass supply chain is required in order to meet the requirements of large-scale users, both currently and in the future. Large biomass off takers require uninterrupted and reliable supply of biomass. Additionally, not only large players can benefit from the commoditisation of biomass, but Small to Medium sized Enterprises as well, as they would gain access to a new, locally sourced raw material, with unlimited potential. The land owners will also greatly benefit, as affordable contract harvesting would become more and more accessible, providing many advantages over other bush control techniques.
Therefore, under the auspices of a development cooperation between the Government of Namibia (via MAWF) and the Federal Republic of Germany (via GIZ), the Namibia Biomass Industry Group (N-BiG) was formed and incorporated in December 2015. N-BiG is a non-profit organisation, incorporated under Section 21 (Reg. No.: 21/2015/0482). N-BiG was founded through the support of its founding members and its funders and strives to grow its membership base and facilitate bush utilisation and value addition. N-BiG, clearing the path to prosperity.